WTA Charleston: No. 1 Seed Madison Keys Upset By Shelby Rogers; Kasatkina and Gavrilova Set Up "The Dasha Derby" - UBITENNIS
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WTA Charleston: No. 1 Seed Madison Keys Upset By Shelby Rogers; Kasatkina and Gavrilova Set Up “The Dasha Derby”

Jakub Bobro

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Hometown Girl Shelby Rogers Upsets 1st Seed Madison Keys

 

World No. 11 Madison Keys started the match in very unconvincing fashion, going down a double break in the first set. At 0-3, Keys started to push Rogers further behind the baseline, and got more consistent on serve. This helped her turn the set around and take the first 6-4. After getting the first game of the second set, Keys lost the next 11 games in a row, a sight rarely seen, putting her at 6-4 1-6 0-5. This was not only caused by Keys starting to perform poorly on serve, but especially Rogers becoming more aggressive, exposing the angles. Keys took one break back before losing 6-4 1-6 1-6 in 1 hour and 36 minutes. Keys made 7 double faults and won only 21% of points after 2nd serve, showing that she is still far from the level she was at before her injury. Shelby Rogers will face Naomi Osaka next in the Round of 16.

Daria Kasatkina and Daria Gavrilova Advance, Set Up “The Dasha Derby”

This was the third meeting between the WTA Rising Stars Daria Kasatkina and Monica Puig, and just like the previous two, it was a three set battle. It didn’t seem like that in the beginning, as Puig lost the first set 0-6, winning only 1 point on her serve. In the second set, the gold medalist from Rio started to fight back and find her game, which resulted in Puig winning the second set 7-6(3). The final set was more even than suggested by the score, with Kasatkina managing to find the extra bit of energy to push her to win almost every game. When serving to stay in the match at 2-5, nerves got to Puig, and after two lost rallies and a double fault, she was down 0-40. However, the Puerto Rican got really aggressive and saved 3 match points, before finally falling after 2 hours and 1 minute, 0-6 7-6(3) 2-6. Despite beating the World No. 1 Angelique Kerber twice already in 2017, Kasatkina hasn’t had an ideal start to the year. She was actually coming into Charleston with a 4 match losing streak. The Russian is now through to the Round of 16, just one match away from defending her quarterfinal run from last year in Charleston.

Kasatkina’s opponent in Round of 16 will be her good friend and 9th seed Daria Gavrilova. The Australian swept past American Alison Riske 6-3 6-1 in just an hour and 6 minutes. Despite a heavily taped right thigh, Gavrilova was moving well and her return game was on point, winning 65% of all points on return. Gavrilova has to hope for a solid result in Charleston, as she has to defend Quarterfinals in Madrid and Round of 16 in Madrid. On the bright side, the Australian made a first round exit at Roland Garros last year, giving her a chance to increase her ranking with a solid run in Paris, perhaps break Top 20. Head-to-head between Kasatkina and Gavrilova is 1-0 for the Russian, winning their only meeting at the 2015 US Open, Kasatkina’s breakout run.

Resurgent Rodionova Marches On

34 year-old Anastasia Rodionova is now through to the Round of 16, defeating former World No, 5 and 2012 Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani 6-2 6-2. Rodionova managed to just hit through Errani, who is currently struggling and outside the Top 100. This is the Australian’s 4th win in a row, not even losing a set yet in Charleston. Rodionova’s next opponent will either be World No. 12 Caroline Wozniacki or Annika Beck. In the live rankings, Rodionova is at No. 349, meaning that she will move up 320 spots in the rankings if she loses in the 3rd Round. If she will win, Rodionova will be back to Top 300.

Overshadowed Upsets

Other than the No. 1 seed Madison Keys and Venus’ loss to Siegemund, two other seeds lost today. 13th Shuai Zhang didn’t manage to hold off the sheer firepower of Naomi Osaka, even on clay. The Japanese player won 6-4 6-4, and will play Shelby Rogers for a place in the quarterfinals .

4th seed and Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina will not defend her final at the Volvo Car Open, as she makes a 2nd Round exit to Hungarian qualifier Fanny Stollar. This is the biggest win of her career so far for the 18 year-old, beating the World No. 13. 13 is also the number of aces Stollar fired off in this straight set win. Despite failing to serve out the match twice, Stollar managed to regroup and win the match 7-6(7) 7-6(3). The talented Hungarian will next face Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Remaining Results

5 seeds advanced to the second round, 4 of them in straight sets. 10th seed Irina-Camelia Begu was the odd one out, battling past Kristina Kucova 4-6 6-2 7-6(6) after 2 hours and 29 minutes. The Romanian will face Samantha Stosur next.

7th seed Kiki Bertens was the highest seed that advanced today, defeating Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-2 7-5. Bertens will need to take advantage of the lack of favorites and get as far as possible, since she has to defend a staggering 1218 points. 11th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is continuing to have an incredible year, now through to the Round of 16, where Bertens and Lucic-Baroni will face off.

15th seed Lucie Safarova beat her doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3 6-3. The Czech will be next tested by Laura Siegemund,. 8th seed Anastasija Sevastova defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-4. After the match, the German informed her fans on Twitter that she suffered a knee injury in the match. She wrote that she will get an MRI and have more information soon. Petkovic is a well-liked player, but she has been going through a rough patch results-wise, so let’s hope that this will not be a career-ending injury.

Sevastova’s next opponent will be the Tunisian lucky loser Ons Jabeur, who actually didn’t win a match in qualifying, as she received a walkover and then lost to Asia Muhammad. In the main draw, however, Jabeur already beat Erakovic and Linette in straight sets. Jelena Ostapenko is the other Latvian in the Round of 16, beating Maria Sakkari 6-2 4-6 6-2.

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Canada Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday Features Ruud/Hurkacz and Pegula/Halep

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Simona Halep on Friday in Toronto (twitter.com/NBOtoronto)

The singles and doubles semifinals will be played on Saturday in Canada.  In Montreal, a new men’s singles champion will be crowned, and Hubi Hurkacz is the only semifinalist to have previously won a Masters 1000 event (Miami, 2021).  Hurkacz is also in the doubles semifinals, so it will be a busy day for Hubi.  In singles, he faces a finalist from this year in Miami, Casper Ruud.

 

In Toronto, Simona Halep is the only former champion remaining, and is two wins away from her third title at this event.  On Saturday, she plays Jessica Pegula, who is into the semifinals in Canada for the second straight year.  Like Hurkacz, Pegula is also in the doubles semifinals.  She’s teaming with Coco Gauff, who will become the new doubles No.1 if they win the title.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Hurkacz ended the winning streak of Nick Kyrgios on Friday, taking him out in three sets for the second time this season.  But Ruud was even more impressive on Friday, bouncing back from a marathon victory on Thursday over Roberto Bautista Agut to overwhelm Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, dropping only three games.  Predominantly known as a clay court player, Casper is also establishing himself as a considerable threat on hard courts.  That’s especially true in North America, where Ruud has claimed 16 of his last 19 matches.  But Hubi’s success on this surface remains superior, as does his serving prowess.  While Ruud prevailed in their only previous encounter, just a few months ago at Roland Garros, Hurkacz is the favorite on a hard court.


Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Halep has been dominant through four rounds this week, advancing without the loss of a set.  Simona has quietly put together a strong record of 36-10 this season, though she’s yet to achieve a big result, with only one title at the 250 level at the start of the year.  Pegula only dropped one set this week, to defending champion Camila Giorgi.  And similar to Halep, she’s accumulated a solid record this year (29-14) without winning a title.  This will be the first career meeting between these two players.  Considering Halep is now 25-6 lifetime at this event, and the way in which she has easily prevailed all week, her superior movement and defense should be enough to reach her fourth final in Canada.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Dan Evans – Carreno Busta has played superbly this week, eliminating the likes of Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini without losing a set to this stage.  Dan Evans has survived two grueling three-setters in as many days.  This is their first career meeting.

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Karolina Pliskova (14) – Haddad Maia has earned three big wins across the last three days over Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic, and Leylah Fernandez.  Pliskova is looking to reach the Canada final for the second straight year.  They have split two previous encounters, both on hard courts.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Canada Daily Preview: Quarterfinal Friday in Montreal and Toronto

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Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday in Montreal (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

Canadian No.1 Felix Auger-Aliassime has thrilled crowds in his home country on back-to-back days in Montreal.  On Friday, he faces Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud, who outlasted Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday in a marathon match that went well over three hours.  Other ATP action in Montreal includes Washington champion Nick Kyrgios taking on Halle champ Hubi Hurkacz in a rematch from the Halle semifinals.

 

Coco Gauff has survived two extremely dramatic affairs in as many days, ousting both Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka in third-set tiebreaks.  In the quarterfinals, she plays a two-time champion of this event, Simona Halep.  Toronto’s matches on Friday also feature Jessica Pegula and Karolina Pliskova, both of whom reached the semifinals or better of this tournament a year ago.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Coco Gauff (10) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Between Wednesday and Thursday, Gauff spent exactly six hours on court during the heat of the early afternoon, in two physically and emotionally taxing matches.  By contrast, Halep spent less than half that time on court across those two days, and is yet to drop a set this week.  And their three previous encounters have all been straight-set victories for Simona.  She prevailed on grass three years ago at Wimbledon, on a hard court this year at Indian Wells, and on clay this year in Madrid.  And considering Halep will be the far fresher player on Friday, there’s not much evidence to suggest a different result in her fourth meeting with Coco.


Casper Ruud (4) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 2:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

What will Ruud have left after a three-set match that lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours?  Auger-Aliassime had a much easier time on Thursday, avenging a loss from less than a week ago in the Los Cabos semifinals over Cam Norrie.  Casper and Felix have split four previous meetings at all levels: two at Challenger events, and two at Masters 1000 events such as this.  Three years ago in Miami on a hard court, Auger-Aliassime won in three sets.  Last year in Madrid on clay, Ruud prevailed in straights.  Accordingly, a hard court would seem to favor Felix, especially considering his superior serving abilities.  Most of Casper’s big results have come on clay, though he did reach the final of Miami earlier this year.  I expected the Canadian to play nervously at this event, as Auger-Aliassime was only 3-3 lifetime here ahead of this week, and had lost four of his last six matches since June.  But Felix has embraced the spotlight of playing in front of a packed Canadian stadium, and should be favored over a depleted Ruud on Friday.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Nick Kyrgios vs. Hubert Hurkacz (8) – Between singles and doubles, Kyrgios is 13-0 over the last 10 days.  Hurkacz saved a match point on Thursday, eventually defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a third-set tiebreak.  Earlier this year in Halle when he played Nick, Hubi also prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Karolina Pliskova (14) vs. Qinwen Zheng – Both players were victorious after tough three-setters on Thursday: Pliskova over Maria Sakkari and Qinwen over Bianca Andreescu.  This is their first career meeting.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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